Thank you Alex, for your kind words. Currently, as far as I know, I'm the only native Romanian speaker admin left on this slowly dying version of WT (don't worry, it has been like this for the last couple of years, way before since the more recent events). I'm not sure what IB intends to do with WT, but I can say that I didn't like the way you (and I mean IB employees) suddenly appeared, made themselves admins, removed bureaucrat rights (from myself for instance etc.), and now you come and say thanks for all that I've been doing? I'm really not sure how to interpret that. Anyways, I reckon that besides myself, you also messaged the other 2 persons that expressed interest in a Romanian version of the upcoming travel site under the WikiMedia Foundation umbrella. So, here is what I think: as long as I'm allowed I'll keep an eye on WT (but personally I doubt you'll ever be able to revive a community around this website, on Romanian Wikipedia people are already aware of the new travel website and I guess people will come there), I will; if you want to remove my administrative rights, feel free to do so, there are still things that I can do without (but if I'm to revert the same spambot over and over without being able to block it, I will no longer do it). All the best! --Vlad 26 octombrie 2012 11:21 (EEST)
Dear Vlad! Thank you very much for your answer!
I value a lot your presence and contributions on WT. It has never crossed my mind to remove your administrative rights. I am very thankful and happy to know that there is somebody on the Romanian Wikitravel who takes care of the site...
Recently, as you mentioned, IB has been facing a new challenge which made us implement some changes. IB needed to remove some admin and bureaucrat privilages because unfortunately many previous-admins started abusing them and harming the site...IB in order to protect WT had to take some steps and that is why some new admins appeared on the site (including me). We do our best to protect the site from Spammers and Vandalism but we still need valuable contributors, especially for foreign language versions of the site.
IB and me personally, we truly believe that WT has still a big and supportive community that would not leave the site.
I would love to stay in touch with you! Thank you agian for your great contribution to WT! Cheers! IBAlex 3 noiembrie 2012 01:29 (EET)
Hello again, Aleksandra, thank you as well for getting back to me. When I was mentioning admin rights removal, I was referring exactly to cases like you mentioned. However, I've never heard of their action as abusing and harming the site, would you be so kind and give some of such examples? As far as I know, abusive actions from admin could be page deletion (but I've never heard of this happening, and deletion can be reversed) and abusive blocking (but this can be undone).
About new IB admins, here are my thoughts: since IB acquired WT, the WT community was left alone; only when this community, dissatisfied with the way IB was treating WT (by not responding to technical requests of MediaWiki software upgrade, site slowness etc.) started to organize to leave, it's only then that IB realized what this would mean (a user content generated website without users its completely useless) and lo and behold, IB self appointed admins. The action somewhat makes sense, but only if done 6 years ago; now it just looks like imposing.
And finally, yes, you do need contributors, especially on non-English languages (pretty much every other language). Even with the help of Google Translate, it's practically impossible to manage a website in a language you don't speak. --Vlad 3 noiembrie 2012 07:53 (EET)
Hi Vlad. Since I was here long before this past summer, and Aleksandra is relatively new, I can speak in detail about these issues.
As you pointed out, other than inactivity and retirement, a single admin was "retired" proactively. This was due to unprecedented abuse of his bureaucrat privileges in actually attempting to block the site owners from editing. His privileges were immediately stripped, but it hardly mattered; he had long since "checked out" of any real admin duties on the site, and only remained in order to be a thorn in it's side for as long as the site would bear him. He made many valued contributions during his time, but had grown sour long ago; his eviction was my call, and I stand by it, for the good of the community.
Since a few other active admins also retired from patrolling, it was necessary to replace their spam and vandalism removal efforts. We did so by bringing a few WT enthusiasts on as site admins. This was by no means the first time a non-community-appointed admin resided here, as the site ownership has frequent need to maintain admin accounts at WT. now, we have several IB admins, and as you can see, the site is more spam and vandalism free than it was over the last several years. It's really awesome. The community of Wikitravelers can read and edit in relative peace. It's not perfect, but no open site ever will be.
I completely agree with you, it's virtually impossible to admin a site in a language you don't speak. We'd love to have you and/or other native Romanian speakers as admins on RO for that reason. Your impeccable English makes you a natural choice to liaison between the RO community and the tech side, and your Wiki skill would give you an edge in letting us know exactly what the site needs, in terms of tech requests and feature development. Please take on this task. We have great resources to work with today-- moreso than ever before, and more than virtually any other wiki.
I hope we can gear the RO community back up here. Many other WT communities, especially English, are going like gangbusters. As the retired admins only produced a small fraction of daily content on the site, their excellent contributions as writers had become somewhat minimal. And as we stated, their contributions as patrollers have been neatly replaced. They are missed, but Wikitravel is better than ever. Our community is seven million reader/editors who come here each month to help and be helped in making their travel experience the best it can be, for free. We'd love to have you help us move into the next phase.--IBobi 3 noiembrie 2012 10:21 (EET)
Thank you for your kind words (regarding the English and the wiki skills). Just to make the record straight, there are plenty of wiki features I'm not familiar with, so I'm not sure what to request (if anything). I'm not sure how the language separation works (i.e. if you upgrade the MediaWiki software for the English version, does it mean that's updated for all language versions? The small editing contribution from admins I think it's something valid for no matter wiki (it was the same when I was an admin on the Romanian wikipedia: administrative tasks took all time, I was not contributing any content). When you say "next phase" what exactly do you mean by that? Finally, if my contributions here are heplful, I can stay and give a hand, but I'm not clinging to the administrative rights, if other people want to do it, no problem. But I'm not sure that new admins could be currently elected, as currently there is no community whatsoever. --Vlad 4 noiembrie 2012 00:02 (EET)
Next Phase just refers to the renewed effort to get our non-English communities going again. With regard to the small number of changes on RO, that's typical of some of the smaller language versions here. Do you have suggestions as to how to get more contributors? Certainly Wiki people are not the only ones who use Wikitravel; are there other RO resources you think might be able to be tapped to get the attention or RO speakers to read and edit here?--IBobi 5 noiembrie 2012 23:07 (EET)
No idea. The only resource I could think of is the Romanian wikipedia, but from my experience there was practically no one besides me editing here, and now is too late to advertise WT there, as people will most likely orient to the new travel wiki under the WMF umbrella. --Vlad 6 noiembrie 2012 11:39 (EET)
Wikitravel intends to continue to support Romanian no matter what level of initial interest there is; additionally, we have the resources to address any technical and feature requests that are raised by our RO community. Please pass along that information, and we hope to see you and others here soon to make WT/RO the finest source of free travel infomration available in the Romanian language.--IBobi 7 noiembrie 2012 00:54 (EET)
I contributed sporadically to WT, because I am a busy user and I work in another field of activity than tourism. However, I like the tourism and I wrote about the places I know better because I visited them, and also posted up about places I know less. I am a relative new user, Wikitravel is not the only site I wrote about travelling, but I could learn and help this project go further. --Histria12 26 octombrie 2012 15:43 (EEST)
Hello Histria12! Thank you for your message!
I am happy to hear that you are willing to help the WT Project! I truly believe that Romanian WT can grow a lot, especially with the help of great administrators that are on the site, for example User:Vlad.